Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Righteous Indignation

Righteous Indignation 


First a minor warning: This week's episode's audiomix of RIPodcast was groovy if you are into early Pink Floyd or original pressings of the Kinks records, but if not then you ought to listen to the show on a mono-speaker.  Due to a minor computer mishap and the lack of running the show through Garage Band or similar audio program the stereo recording was very stereo.  


Anyway Haley was sick with hayfever, so it was Dr*T, Trystan, and Gavin who covered the news stories, while Hayley did most of the heavy lifting with the interview.  The show started with a clarification of the Jesus' crucifixion nail kept by the Knight's Templar, a story the Indignates covered a few episodes ago.  The clarification is not that the archeologist thought the nails were Jesus', but only that the Knight's Templar might have thought so.  The journalist who covered the story sort of twisted to make it sound as if the archeologist thought it was Jesus' nails of doom.

Another story covered was an American college that has a class on UFOs, and is it proper to have a class promoting a pseudo-science.  I have some personal experience with this type of thing, since I took some extra classes the summer between my Junior and Senior year in undergrad.  I took a class on "Life in the Universe" and half of it was how do we get out there, and the other half was how would "they" get here and how likely is it.  Luckily, if memory serves me correctly, the professor was rather skeptical of UFOs.  I do think it can be a legitimate course if done correctly.  (The other class was a bit less novel: Nazi Germany)

The male Indignates (Malignates?) covered the Iranian cleric who blamed Earthquakes on scantily-clad women instead of plate tectonics.  This led into a recent remark by American conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh noting that the passage and signing into law of the health care legislation caused the Icelandic volcano to erupt.  I went and listened to the comment, and Lady listened to it.  We were trying to figure out if Limbaugh was being serious or telling a bad Deepak Chopra-style joke.  My wife summed my thoughts best, "I cannot believe that he's that big of an idiot to be serious with that comment, although maybe he has turned into that big of an idiot."*

The show covered the recent "South Park" brouhaha with the episode featuring the likeness of the Prophet Mohammed dressed in a bear costume, and the subsequent not too subtle death threats from Islamic Weenies or some group of Muslim extremists.  They say they are not threatening Trey and Matt, but give their addresses on the website and say that a show like theirs might get them killed.  They are just saying.

The Interview was of James Lovelock who postulates that the Earth or at least the Earth's biosphere is a large self-regulating entity that keeps itself in a nice zone o' life.  Noted scientists such as Profs Richard Dawkins and Stephan J. Gould essentially say this is poppycock, as there is no mechanism for lifeforms to do anything other than keep themselves alive and not other creatures.  Lovelock counters that he has done experiments via simulations that indeed lifeforms as a whole can adjust to keep the environment peachy for continued life.

Lovelock, to be clear, is not saying life as a whole, the planet, is sentient as some new-age types claim.  The various lifeforms on the planet are individually sentient which is something special, but he is not saying the whole planet as one has underlying intelligence.

Lovelock discussed how the Earth can be saved from climate change via some fairly simple means.  He proposed locking up carbon in the unused parts of grain stalks etc by turning the stalks into charcoal and biofuel.  The charcoal is then buried or dumped at sea, and excess carbon is vanquished.  The biofuel is used to make it profitable for the farmer to do the above.  My question is that if the carrot is to make biofuel, but then the biofuel is burned, isn't this burnt fuel releasing carbon into the atmosphere?  He is also a proponent of nuclear fuel as a carbon neutral form of energy rather than pressing ahead exclusively on renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.  I live near the infamous Three Mile Island Nuclear power plant, and in first grade I fled the area with my sister and mom when the crisis occurred in 1979.  (Dad, being a physician, was left behind to help care for his patients and possible victims if the radiation did not get him first.) Lovelock seemed upset by much of the red tape that prevents new nuclear plants from coming online quickly.  Despite the trauma of my youth, I also am for greater use of nuclear power as it is a practical carbon/air pollution free source of power.  However, I am all for making sure they are built to laboriously exacting standards.  Unfortunately, such safety means lots of time and red tape, but that's better than being departed from one's dad wondering if you'll ever see him or your home again.

All in all, despite some funky audio issues, the guys put on a good episode which was replete with ongoing joking that everything is misogynistic (a reference to it being an all guy show) and if that was not sufficient to make it a good episode, the French were also compared to the devil.


*On Sunday I defended Deepak Chopra and today I am sorta defending Rush Limbaugh.  Good Grief.  

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the kind synopsis.

    I think you may be right - perhaps I took Limbaugh too seriously, although history is not on his side...

    I was worried the misogyny theme was a bit overplayed, and underexplained, but maybe it was OK.

    All feedback is welcome and valued at any rate!

    Thanks,

    Dr*T

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  2. Yes, the misogyny thing. One of our listeners seemed to think the live episode was strangely misogynistic. Yes, the comments I made were a bit cheeky at times, but we were amongst friends (and I can understand how the context may have been lost on the average listener) and the episode recorded in good humour. Also, misogyny is a hatred of women...and I still don't see how what was said would equate to that.

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  3. For the record, I don't think you hate women. I do not think you ever exhibited such discussions.

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